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A New Era of Software Changing the Way We Work - Roy Mann + Nino Marakovic

Roy Mann
CEO at Monday.com
+ 1 speaker
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2020 Startup Grind Global Conference
February 12, 2020, Redwood City, CA, USA
2020 Startup Grind Global Conference
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A New Era of Software Changing the Way We Work - Roy Mann + Nino Marakovic
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About speakers

Roy Mann
CEO at Monday.com
Nino Marakovic
CEO & Managing Director at Sapphire Ventures

Roy Mann is a career entrepreneur. Before co-founding monday.com, he was part of Wix’s senior management team. Prior to that, Roy founded the online social game Save an Alien. Roy obtained a Bachelor of Science focused in Computer Science from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC).

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About the talk

A Fireside chat with Roy Mann, Co-founder + CEO of monday.com talking about the Effects of the New Era of Software on the Way We Work. Interviewed by Nino Marakovic, CEO + Managing Director of Sapphire Ventures.


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Good afternoon, everyone enterprise-focused Venture fund called Sapphire Ventures that focused in exceptional intrapreneurs trying to disrupt the Enterprise ID space like Roy and its co-founder and run over here. I'm sorry. I missed a show of hands of those who actually here has heard of monday.com. Could you would you guys mind repeating that quite a number good? Well, if you're planning to be here with Roy CEO of monday.com, we've had the great Fortune of leading $159 financing for the company recently companies based in Israel. And seroyer. That was just a little headline

about Monday to get the audience warmed up. First of all, it's not a project management tool like they introduced us. We're very good at project management. But so it's work and operating system. That's like what work. I don't know if you're good. the billboard sign with we took some of them in the centrally and platform that people can any team can manage pretty much everything and they want to with us we have like a lot of R&D teams marketing themes to steam running on us a jar and we have people building airplanes running manufacturing plants that

doing clinical trial research and then hotels restaurant like Billy everyone because you can build your own process and on Monday and manage the team the way you like to and it scared and that's like Give give me a sense of scale in size of the organization one of the things I find amazing about about Monday and I've been on the board of many companies. I get a daily SMS with how the company is done in the last day not mind a week or a month or a year. But but everyday I get an SMS to a little bit of a radical transparency is work there.

But give us a scale of the organization. So we started that sat in 2014. That's where we launched the first product and and since then we've relatively fast and last year like it it 2018 like in the beginning we started with chicken meat and irr 29 thing. We finished with the 920. So what would you like that 52 120 million ARR and before that we were at 18, so 18252 120 and we now have over a hundred thousand paying companies in over a hundred and sixty countries and with over 200 different business verticals. It's probably everyone in the category so big like a

for working and you know managing teams and processes basically everyone is doing it since so our target audience. Everyone and information workers its 1.3 billion information resources definition of the category. I found it interesting in terms of choosing sort of to redefine or Define a category yet at this large size companies typically do it sometimes earlier in their in their life, but you kind of waiting for the right moment and also did what what about the company right now makes it the

right time for you to come out and talk about the history. So like for all our life when we went to raise money people like, you know, which lady helped to raise money, especially in the beginning and in the beginning that they looks at us. Is it all if project management every investor got burned from investing in some productivity tool so like they didn't want to invest and they couldn't make out who we were Project management book clock project management and it was really difficult central time. We really struggled

in explaining in one sentence with the company does cuz I sent you leave the platform that people built their own management tool and obviously it has a lot of you can manage process orders project events HR and then it wasn't the name for it. So we waited for years to someone to Define it and we're not alone in this category and now there came a time that it makes sense. So we can I pick up the glove and named it work or west and we have other players in it is well like you mentioned which is

like a unique that we didn't say. We are the only one that's right. That's the same idea of giving people the tools to solve their own problems. Rather than we're very different companies each one of us in terms of like go to market but the idea of changing software. It's happening with the movement of like giving are users the power to Define and crafts their own destiny in the other than you have to put yourself to the software and use a Ridgid software and when it's not good enough for me to switch to me tremendously. But Monday is this idea that that for the

repeatable processes that are standardized across companies. You have a company CEO of Salesforce CEO of sap Oracle work day and many others but still most of the work happens outside of those standard process. He sits email. It's like it's all conversations and Excel spreadsheets and so having a system that's that allows you to to enshrine some of those those custom processes as well as super interesting to talk to me more about this ride from company contact the new thing for 4 for Monday new new initiative. Obviously the holy grail for every software companies to become a flight from

company and have other companies built on top of it. Why do you think Monday is ready to be a boy from company? So I think we're part of the bigger movements of really empowering users. You see that that would designers for examples of the Lost tools that enable them to to be more powerful and like developers let saying that they can do more cops and do it take things more forward. And and we see that we always had that mindset of giving people power and how do we connect democratize suffering and allow people to do it? So

centrally we've always been that platform. And today we're opening it up for developers to build. Oh nothing really like if we can do it, they can do it in terms of building looks like we will develop the same building blocks of the community and you know it It's another step in the evolution of opening up the platform and being really like allowing people to do whatever they want make sense. We came up here and share their their revenue run rate fence to be more of a secret album.

Hush-hush thing to do in the Valley. Can you talk a little more about the the transparency? I found you guys to be be some of the most transparent company feels like all your employees know everything is going on in the company all the all the metrics maybe maybe down in the office. We have hundreds of dashboard showing every metric we have on everything like from how much money we have in the bank. If you are are and you find out everything and I like

also people who come to interview in the office like see those stuff is like so we started off being friends parents. When we were like small 5 people and we never found the reason not to so that's how we came to I need only gave us really positive things. For example, everyone knows everything. So if there is a problem we all come in and fix it. It's not up to some person to say. Hey, there's a problem convince other people to do other stuff like really making your points like it's enough for one person to visit and then like everyone comes in the morning. So I would like for

us it was always about ownership passing ownership two people making them feel it's theirs and it has to do with everything. It's not just the number is it's also like cleanliness of the office like that. You know, I don't know we get like a really excited laptop. So if you break it, you can take another one scallop. You can just know how much money it cost. It's your company when do whatever you want. So that's like fasting The ownership to the people that they feel it's their is and it also means that we need to allow

them to do whatever they feel is right with guidance, but everyone needs is like really proven to do impacting what they believe in like, so that's the ownership that we don't get to decide. I don't get to tell people what to do cuz they are subject, a big stink over the last five ten years and and managing by objectives, but also key results sounds like you something you've you've done without any pitfalls for folks you to consider if they think about going the radical transparency instead of management by Metric way I felt so I think managing Biometrics is like the crudest form of

transparency. It's like telling people where to go and I'll talk to get there and it's really good. You give them a problem you give them away to do what they believe in and you It's a longer-term. You need to like to think about it until like I can give an example and I've done like a gazillion a B test in my life. And after who are you do you figure out like some stuff that are that make sense, you know, like a writing the text in the clear way make it very pronounceable call for Action. Let me see someone doing not that do you like that? This is not

going to work at but how old is David and I never learned from someone telling me what's right and what's wrong I tested it. So, how are we are the company willing to give people the ability to make more mistakes and we pay for it now like you put a landing page out with that problem it cost like a tens of thousands of dollars, but they're only going to learn if they're going to try the stuff. They want to learn in and you know molecular see everyone is making sense that in the beginning so so there's a tension about that, but I would or Prefer to teach someone by letting them try

it out and see what works and what's not as long as it's contain. So you need the framework for it you need to operation for it. You need to I can tell them, you know, I think it's not going to work because this and that but then at the end they're going to do whatever they want in the lot of them do whatever they want. And that cool thing about that. Is that sometimes I'm wrong. And that's that's really great. Cuz right now I'm more like it more and more I'm wrong, but that's like

it's because I I'm not I don't need to apologize this this philosophy. So embedded in the in the company. I actually twenty-two years of doing this. I've never seen another company actually build software to track all these analytics and a b tests. So it's like her and Lucy and its source of Records to its a bi tool. It's also an operations to it. So like so that's different from classic the iTunes. Like it just doesn't only show you the information you can act on the information you see there. So for example, if you want to maybe test you open it up and

in big brain and it gives you all the measures you need to make a decision and it's a unified review that is really good. It's like telling Larry safe. It's like here or here and people can make the same choices over and over and then we moved it to everyone in proof. Okay, so we took from day one and you just work to investing in building such it to her. Because of that allow people that's a big part of a big part of ownership. You need supporting. Operation without that you can't leave

cuz it doesn't like we always give the comparison if you have like a very is skyscraper on the rooftop with a bicycle. Okay, so it's not like the best way to like let someone off with a bicycle on the rooftop light like they they can fall but what if you put like to meet guard, okay, like it sounded then you feel safe. It's not a problem. So that's what you were trying to do that takes a lot of effort from like when we were five people we did that cuz it meant a lot to us. Cuz we we didn't want a lot of analytics tools like you look at them and then you

have excuses all of that information didn't pass that is a problem because it takes like 4 hours for the doctor to aggregate. I'm so we didn't want any of that like we wanted or under the base around that I said we can go in and and really figure it out so we can learn so we may be like training to other startups helped in that point to make sense of it seem so easy, right? So you just measure everything and then you go 1851 20, is that how it always was so we So

like when you look at the grass when it's growing like every month is a struggle like really every month cuz like grow to double or more than double. It means that if you want to double this year we need to do. In one year what we've done throughout the life of the company. That's what it means. So it cannot be the same things that we've done until now that would make it succeed this year. So you need to break everything and you know you have like the reason I say visual thing of how you build the car and then people think it's like the way you see the weekends

and then they put the top and then, you know, you end up having conseno you start with the skateboard scooter and bicycle and a car but the thing is is that when you move to the scooter, you need to break the skateboard and that's how to do most people find a comfortable is like Deck Over the skateboard with an engine on it and like you and so that's really hard and and but but it's the first stage that he's the most houses like Like that struggle of

like figuring out what is the product that people actually want to buy apples to a product that solve the problem. So we started with a product that solves the problem but they just like was really hard to adopt thrown out. If a lot of companies for you like you come and Pitch them and they tell you like it, okay, if nothing happens cuz they don't want it so that phase of public market V is probably the helmet is so it doesn't get easier in many ways over time. Is it either one thing as you think back on the early days and that seeking

the product Market is the one thing that you feel like you did wrong or you wish you would have gotten to quicker or is it Siri did like a million things but like in hindsight what I would the most painful stuff Was I Thinkin hiring the right people. I'm like, okay, there is like I interviewed like hundreds of people and then I met someone who taught me how to hire a p.m. Project managers and then I understood that I didn't know how to interview people before and

liking I can mention it now. It's not that simple cuz I needed a lot of training and I failed on the time and he wasn't happy with me, but then I learned eventually but it goes like this you list you have a list of qualities you want and then you need to in one interview find a really good signal on each one of those traits. So for example communication, are you a good communicator so far for product manager, they need to communicate. Well at the end of an interview, is it good or not?

It's communicating and how strong is my signal and then like I'm building interview to get all the signals in an hour and and then you know if you teach it to everyone and when a few people do the same interview, you get like such a strong signal. It's from Lexington hiring and I guess that's different from today unless you think about the challenges that 120 + million Revenue run that company going fast still the biggest problem obviously, but looks like the Pains of hiring the wrong person is hard and then and then you need to sometimes

Parkways and the thing about that wasn't going to be easy for me is that if something is not working well with someone usually when you part ways with them, it's like you understand. It's the best thing for both of us sides cuz cuz you are a little slick early stage managers try to like and you know improve people a lot and I like something's out of sight doesn't want it. It's not a good fit. so so that's like a good tip to try and figure that out and also with investors, by the way, if you if we did something wrong is like raising money,

and I think now we're relatively good at it in terms of processing everything but One like we weren't good in the beginning. We we got like a whereas from Israel and I I am I am not pretty proud to say but we got no from every investor a lot of them. They're so well except the ones who said yes, but it weren't that good at that and that's cuz we didn't understand how to explain what we know very well in the beginning cuz you understand it really well and you need to take someone

to meet like a few startups today. To where you are and how investors think is now and then since we learned that 12 in how we think about the business is like what are the risks? Where do we want to go? Like we want to reach let's play next year. We want a double again and which we want to double again. So what are the risks of getting there working backward explaining that I'm singing that from that perspective you understand that the product in the beginning we talked a lot about the project is not the only thing

they want to talk about. They want to see the risks and then you deposit like if that's how we both good at it like we we we were always two in every meeting. And the one who didn't talk, listen, listen, and then after the meeting we sat down and identify doll the risk factors that the investor so and we're not addressed and then improved and that's like proved to be really good. I'm afraid we're out of time, by the way. Thank you very much for your time. I 20 more questions, but I let the audience chase you afterwards in and ask away. Thank you for

your thank you guys.

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